Basement flooding is one of the most devastating problems that can affect a home, leaving structural damage and expensive repairs in its wake. For many homeowners, a sump pump can provide valuable protection from moisture-related basement issues. Here is a closer look at how a sump pump works to keep a basement dry and protect the home.
What Is A Sump Pump?
A sump pump is a device designed to move water out of a basement. It is usually placed in a hole that has been carved under the main surface of the floor of the basement. When it senses excess water levels, it turns on and drains water away from the home.
Sump pumps generally drain water to areas such as neighborhood drains, dry wells, or ponds. However, it is important to ensure that sump pumps are not set to drain to a location where the water could return to the home. Some municipalities have building codes governing where sump pumps can drain, so it is important to follow any applicable regulations.
How Does A Sump Pump Operate?
Sump pumps are normally placed in a sump pit, which is a hole that is dug in the lowest point of the basement floor. The hole is filled with a gravel base a few feet deep and typically measures 18 inches wide.
It is equipped with a sensor that can determine when the pit fills with water to activate the pump. Most pumps use a float activator arm or pressure sensor for this purpose. A pressure sensor operates on the principle that water exerts greater pressure on a sensor than air does, causing it to activate. With a float activator, a buoyant ball floats on the water surface and moves the arm manually as the water level rises. Manually operated pumps are also available that only work when the homeowner chooses to turn them on.
When the sensor activates the pump, it moves liquid from the pit through pipes directed away from the home to the designated drainage location. The drainage pipes are typically equipped with a check valve, which is a one-way valve designed to stop water from flowing back into the sump pit.
Sump pumps generally use centrifugal pumps for moving water. With this type of pump, centrifugal force sends water toward the sides of the pipe and creates an area of low pressure at the middle. As water rushes in from the pit to fill in the void, the spinning action of the impeller forces it out through the pipe.
Types Of Sump Pumps
There are two main types of sump pump design: submersible pumps and pedestal pumps.
A submersible pump rests inside the water and is protected by waterproof housing. The pump sits at the bottom and has an outlet pipe closer to the top, while a grate or flat screen covers the bottom to prevent debris from making its way inside. When a submersible pump is turned on, the water is sucked up through the grate and sent out of the home through the outlet pipe.
A pedestal pump uses a pedestal to keep the pump out of the pit and away from the water, even when it is full. It features an inlet pipe that extends downward into the bottom of the pit to draw water out. Pedestal pumps are typically less expensive than submersible pumps, but they do tend to be noisier because the motor and pump are both situated outside the water.
When the power goes out in a home, it causes a sump pump to lose its main source of power. Unfortunately, the type of rainstorms that can cause power outages are also the times when sump pumps are typically needed the most. Therefore, some homeowners opt for a battery backup sump pump, which provides additional protection from flood damage in the event of a power outage. It uses a battery backup and a float switch that allows the pump to operate even if the home’s power has gone out during a storm.
Who Needs A Sump Pump?
Homes that are situated in climates that tend to see heavy rain or snowfall are always good candidates for a sump pump, but there are other situations where these devices may also be beneficial. For example, they can help keep basements dry in homes that are built on plots prone to flooding and those that have a history of water problems.
Regardless of the climate or flooding risk on a plot, many homeowners who finish their basement opt to have a sump pump installed to protect their investment and prevent moisture-related basement damage.
Schedule A Consultation With The Experienced Sump Pump Professionals
Sump pumps are a great way to prevent your home from experiencing rot, warping, mold, and foundation issues related to water damage. To find out whether a sump pump is right for your home, get in touch today with the experienced sump pump professionals at O’Connor Plumbing.